Vacation Destinations for Architecture Buffs



Everyone has priorities when it comes to going on vacation. You’ve got your museum freaks, your sports nuts, your roller coaster fiends, your foodies and more. But let’s not forget the passionate travelers who visit cities in hopes of seeing world-class architecture.

While impressive buildings can be found anywhere, some cities are better known for their architecture than others. If you’re a fan of stunning skylines and incredible edifices, following are five destinations you won’t want to miss.

Washington, D.C.

East Building in the National Gallery of Art

East Building in the National Gallery of Art

You could probably spend weeks exploring Washington, D.C., and still cover only a fraction of its architectural marvels. Aside from famous buildings like The Pentagon, The White House and the United States Capitol building, the city is home to other lesser-known structures that are sure to impress. The Pope-Leighey House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, offers tours from March through December. And the East Building at the National Gallery of Art, designed by I.M. Pei, is a fascinating juxtaposition of sharp angles, glass and marble.


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Chicago is home to numerous impressive hotels, most notably, The Palmer House. Even if you don’t plan to spend the night, it’s worth a visit to this property just to see the lobby. The marble interior and intricately painted ceiling create the impression of being inside a European palace.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers several different tours – by boat, trolley, bike, Segway, ‘L’ train or on foot – covering different areas and attractions in the city.

Las Vegas

NYC in Las Vegas

NYC in Las Vegas

While the lure of Vegas is the gaming tables, the casinos themselves are worth a second look. Some are built to mimic other famous buildings around the world. The New York New York casino’s exterior looks like the Manhattan skyline, and the Paris casino includes a smaller scale version of The Eiffel Tower. Stroll the strip, and spend a little time appreciating the outside of these buildings.

Los Angeles


The Los Angeles Conservancy offers tours visiting many of the city’s architectural highlights, and each tour focuses on a certain theme. Walking tours cover the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the Victorian-era Angelino Heights neighborhood and several Art Deco buildings.

New York City

statue of liberty

The Big Apple has more than its fair share of memorable buildings, some dating back centuries. Many of its crowning architectural achievements are well-known across the country, but there’s nothing quite like seeing these creations in person. New York City has possibly the single-most iconic construction in America in the Statue of Liberty, located on Ellis Island. Walking tours for small groups offer an up-close look at some of the most interesting Beaux Arts and Art Deco buildings, and tour guides offer insight into the buildings’ history.

Wherever you go, do your research beforehand to make sure you know what buildings are worth hitting. Not every awesome architectural wonder is a looming skyscraper – many cities abound with small but brilliantly designed buildings worth perusing. Just make sure you fit in time to check out the cool sites beyond these buildings – each city listed is jam-packed with fun activities and venues!


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